Media on high alert
Concerned about the "influence" of the Bush administration on the media, journalists are more wary than ever. In their alarmist protestations, however, they expose the heart of the media beast, fanning the very flames they seek to put out.
Watch carefully now.
Presidents from George Washington on down have struggled with a news corps viewed as hostile. [Ed: Gee, ya think?] And in the age of television, the art of message management has been increasingly vital to the modern presidency.Note that this concern for manipulation only arose after a Republican president proved much more adept at getting his message across than liberals had thought he would be. (Can chimps really create masterpieces???)
But taken together, these recent controversies suggest that the Bush administration may be pushing that craft into new territory - and testing the limits of presidential public relations.
"The public has a reason to be concerned about the ways in which political manipulation is influencing journalism," says Larry Gross at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.
It's funny, as an observer of the scene, to see the media and journalism schools working themselves into a frenzy trying to figure out how to counteract the "propoganda machine" of the White House. Somehow, in al their machinations, telling the truth never seems to be offered up as an option. You'd think somebody would think of it.
The American people are starved for someone, anyone, who will simply give them the facts and let them digest them on their own. Yet the media continue blithely on, acting as though they were still the information gatekeepers, when the barn is empty and the horse is nowhere to be found.
It would be interesting to study the history of journalism and determine who it was that decided journalism should be an adversarial enterprise rather than a reportorial one. That was one monster fork in the road, and journalism has suffered from the consequences of that turn ever since.